We’re not in New Road anymore, Toto.

I dropped Buddy the Dog Thing off at my daughter’s place in Collegeville around 6pm, where he will spend six days of horror trying to deal with his big, ungainly, puppy-ish cousin Harley while I am soaking in hot springs in the mountains of Idaho, and stopped by the recently opened Appalachian Brewing pub at the site of the doomed-from-the-start New Road Brewhouse on the way home.

Quick impressions: it is not only a lot more friendly than New Road (it would almost have to be), it is a lot more friendly feeling, with a real brewpub ambiance. It is, to a degree, a bit of a sleight of hand operation at present; the brewhouse is not operative and likely will not be until sometime in July. but ABC is a master at moving beers around from location to location, so no sweat.

The staff seems interested in being helpful and accommodating and I spent a few minutes chatting up bartender Amanda and General Manager Brett Litten (previously at the Gettysburg location) while enjoying very fine 5% Trail Blaze Organic Brown Ale. When those two were otherwise occupied, I amused myself by listening to a beer advocate *the lower case indicated I don’t know if this guy was a “real” BA) trying to educate a friend in the possibilities of beers beyond Bud.

Here are some photos (in order, the overall view from the entranceway, the bar area itself and Amanda and Brett behind the bar):

This is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and fills a void in one of the most logical craft beer town out in these parts. It also means that I have six, count ‘em six, quite good brewpubs with a half hour or so of my front door: ABC, two Sly Fox, two Iron Hill and Victory, with the old original, Stoudt’s, not much further away.

Why the hell am I leaving town? Why do I ever?

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